All posts by Peter DeHaan

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan shares his passion for life and faith through words. Peter DeHaan’s website (http://peterdehaan.com) contains information and links to his blogs, newsletter, and social media pages. Peter DeHaan is the president of Peter DeHaan Publishing, Inc., (http://peterdehaanpublishing.com) the publisher and editor of Connections Magazine and AnswerStat, and editor of Article Weekly.

3 Types of Self-Publishing

Explore the 3 Types of Self-Publishing: Print, E-books, & Audio

Self-publishing options

Self-publishing, once vilified as an exercise in vanity, is now accepted as a viable option by most everyone—except perhaps those who earn a living in traditional publishing. Consider the three self-publishing options.

Three Self-Publishing Options

There are three segments to self-publishing: e-publishing (for Kindle and other e-readers), POD (print-on-demand), and audio books. Some POD vendors will also produce an e-book version, allowing for one-stop-shopping.

Of the three, POD may be more satisfying to the author. POD gives them something tangible to touch, see, and show. Whereas e-pub may be more profitable, having no printing, storing, or shipping costs.

Audio books reside in the middle. They have a higher production cost than e-books but also enjoying the ease of digital distribution. Ideally, the self-published author should consider all three. But start with e-books, followed by print books, and wrapping up with audio books.

When it comes to profit per unit sold, both print and e-books surpass traditional publishing, whose royalties are much smaller in comparison. Of course, traditional publishers have a more extensive reach, greater connections, and bookstore distribution, so the lower payment per book is often more than offset with a much higher sales volume.

Whatever route an author takes, there are pluses and minuses to each. Therefore, the key is to become educated, know your strengths, weaknesses, and available time. Then find the best match for your situation, personality, and goals. Study the 3 self-publishing options before making a decision. Click To Tweet

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

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Blogging is a Basic Form of Self-Publishing

A Blog connects writers directly to readers with no middlemen, delays, or layers of isolation.

blogging

At one time, not too long ago, most everyone decried self-publishing as second-rate, used only by the marginal scribe and unpublishable writer. This is no longer the case. After all, blogging is publishing.

Self-Publishing

Now most everyone (except perhaps traditional publishers) views self-publishing as a viable option for anyone to consider, from novice to seasoned veteran. Indeed some indie authors self-publish because they can make more money that way, publish books faster and more frequently, and maintain greater control over their product and career.

Blogging is Publishing

Publishing, however, is not just about books. Self-publishing can be much simpler. At its most basic, blogging is publishing, perhaps the most pure and direct. Blogging is a means of publishing that connects writer directly with reader, as it is now with you and me. With blogging there are no middlemen offering delays, causing interference, or interjecting layers of isolation.

Blogging connects the author directly with the reader. Blogging is the simplest way to publish. Click To Tweet

Another bonus with blogging is that it’s not restricted to one-way communication, but opens the door for two-way interaction, through the comment section.

Blog to Book

I’ve been blogging since 2008. One day, in my spare time, I will compile some of my posts and turn them into a book.

Actually I started this project a couple of years ago. I need to get back to it. And when I do self-publish my book of blog posts, I will have connected two types of publishing: the blog with the book.

What is your experience with blogging? Have you ever self-published a book? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. Feel free to link to your blog.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

Why I’m Bullish about Printed Books

The future for print books is strong and ripe with opportunity

Printed Books

Michael Weinstein, in his “Publishing Panorama” blog at BookBusinessMag.com, posted this headline: “Report from the Publishing Business Conference: This Just In: Sky Not Falling!” This was four years ago. I think his conclusions about printed books are even more true today.

Citing many credible and reputable sources, he builds a case for a strong future in print publishing, quite contrary to the naysayers who frequently spout, “Print is dead.”

Two of his key takeaways are “Real quality matters more than ever. Never forget what beautiful objects printed books are,” and “the world does not need another book, it does need another original and well-done book.”

He concludes his comments by saying, “We’re publishing differently; we might be delivering some content differently. But passion still counts and quality will always count most of all.”

Although the book publishing industry is undergoing great change, this does not have to be a bad thing. With change comes opportunity and for those who are willing to adjust their thinking to include new perspectives, the opportunities are many. So don’t believe those who warn that the publishing sky is falling; it’s simply not true. People still want to buy printed books. Although the book publishing industry is undergoing great change, with change comes opportunity. Click To Tweet

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

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Digital Publishing Pros and Cons

Consider both publishing options for your next book

Digital Publishing

For the past few years, there has been a great deal of press—and hence a great deal of excitement—about e-books.

Correspondingly, there is also significant debate about the relative merits of each option. The purists insist that the printed version is the way to go, nearly sacred. While the technologists say that e-books are where it’s at, declaring that paper is passé. Of course the diplomat insists that there is room for both.

The price of e-books spans a wide range, from free to matching their printed counterparts, so it is hard to know their true demand. After all if something is free or costs next to nothing, why not “buy” it.

Regardless of sales numbers, print is still driving the market. Author Annette Ehrhardt, in writing about e-book pricing strategies, once noted that, “It seems that many readers value the printed word more than the digital word.”

Consider both print and e-book publishing for your next book. Click To Tweet

While there may be viable instances where a book should only be in digital form or only in print, the vast majority of books need to be in both.

However, if for some reason you can only do one, go with print. Readers will apparently value it more—and what they value, they will buy.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

What is the Ultimate Reading Device?

There’s Kindle, Nook, Kobo eReader, tablets, and apps. Which one is the ultimate e-reader? Which one will rise to the top, replace its competitors, and survive as the reader of choice? Which one is the ultimate reading device that will endure long into the future?

The ultimate reading device
What is the ultimate reading device? Click To Tweet

The answer is: None of them!

What is the ultimate reading device?

Quite simply, it is the printed word.

With a hard copy you don’t need to worry about software compatibility, device obsolescence, battery power consumption, damage when it’s dropped, someone electronically recalling your book, and so forth.

A printed book has none of these concerns. You can read a book anytime, anywhere. It is truly the ultimate reader.

Although e-readers have their place and do offer benefits, I do not see them replacing printed books as many have predicted. The two will co-exist, side-by-side for the foreseeable future.

Even so, the ultimate reading device will continue to be the printed word.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

Do Readers Want Digital Instead of Print?

magazine publishers

For magazine publishers, there’s a lot of hype and excitement about reading magazines and books electronically. All variety of statistics are being bandied about to support the deluge of digital. Studies are being conducted and consultants are consulting. There is euphoria over electronic reading.

But is it warranted? While digital reading is a tantalizing development and may someday change the way people interact with the written word, that day is not yet here. Consider some stats that I have stumbled upon from the magazine industry:

  • One magazine found that 75 percent of readers would not give up their print magazine. That means, the magazine can’t risk going fully digital.
  • A survey of magazine publishers over the performance of their digital editions found that 38% were “somewhat dissatisfied” and 22% were “extremely dissatisfied.” That means that among publishers, a full 60% are not happy with digital.
  • In another study, 61.5% of magazine publishers aren’t even sure how they can generate enough revenue to cover the costs of digital.

So, based on these stats, the majority of readers don’t want to read digitally, the majority of publishers are not happy with digital, and the majority of publishers don’t even know how they can financially support digital.

Going digital may be exciting, but the numbers are not behind it and the masses don’t support it—at this time.

Given this, shouldn’t the focus be on print?

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

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Why Printed Books Are Still Relevant

Though e-books receive all of the hype, printed books are still important, for both readers and authors

printed books

People like to talk about what is new, what is exciting, and what is fresh. That’s why the book publishing industry has so much buzz about reading digital books and listening to audio books.

I’m not going to dismiss those options—because they’re exciting opportunities for authors—but I do caution against overreacting. While digital and audio are fun, sexy, and viable, print is still king. Seriously.

Printed Books

Printed books have a proven history. Printed books have ardent supporters. And printed books do not require a device or a charged battery. They are always on and always available.

Print still has a role to play. Just look at libraries and bookstores, especially the local bookshops that have figured out how to compete against the national chains, online shopping, and electronic book consumption.

And don’t ignore the fact that Amazon has a physical bookstore. They wouldn’t do that on a lark. Though it may be years before we know why, be assured they have a well-reasoned business strategy for doing so.

Print books do not require a device or a charged battery. They're always on and always available. Click To Tweet

There is also mounting evidence that younger generations prefer printed books. They like to unplug and immerse themselves into a good read. And at colleges that only provide e-textbooks, some students, out of frustration, will actually print their own copy of the text using their PC printer.

While some independent authors shun print and do only e-publication, they miss an important, and possibly growing, market. A success book publication strategy needs to stand on three legs: ebooks, audio books, and print books.

How do you consume books? What is your favorite format? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

Just Because You Can Self-Publish a Book Doesn’t Mean You Should

As the price barrier to book publishing lowers, too many books show up with too little quality

self-published anthology of short stories

I once read a self-published book by a “NY Times Best-Selling Author.” I’ll let him remain anonymous. It was a short story anthology of “the best” short stories in a certain genre. I expected much and received little.

A Self-Published Anthology of Short Stories

Perhaps I focus too much on flash fiction (short stories under 1,000 words). Possibly I read too many YA (young adult) books to appreciate writing that is more “serious.” It could be I lack patience. Or maybe I don’t know how to truly appreciate short stories. But just possibly this collection is not all that good, certainly not “the best.”

Here are the good parts: the cover design was okay, the interior layout was professional, and I didn’t notice any editing shortfalls. Failure in these areas is emblematic of shoddy self-publishing. So at least he covered the basics.

I started every one of the short stories but only finished a few. The one that I actually thought was well written and even had a twist at the end, elicited a “so what?” response from me and a stifled yawn.

Just because you can self-publish a book doesn’t mean you should. Click To Tweet

Too often the stories failed to hook me at the beginning—and I always gave them a full page to do so. (I give books the first chapter to grab my attention.) And the few with promising openings that had me turn a couple of pages, failed to establish any reason why I should care about the protagonist. When you don’t wonder what happens to the lead character, there is no reason to turn the page. Ho-hum.

Don’t Bore Your Readers

The book’s introduction was copied from one of the author’s other books. (I tried to read that one, too, but ended up too bored to even skim it.) He may have tweaked a few words, but if so, it wasn’t enough to notice or give it a fresh feel.

He also provided a short preview about the writing of each story, highlighting what he liked about it and the strengths he appreciated. This may have been helpful as a learning experience, had not the stories been too painful for me to read.

I selected this book to learn about short stories. What I learned was don’t bore readers or waste their time. And if you self-publish, it had better be good.

Although a worthy concept, I doubt a traditional publisher would have touched this book. This is likely why the author self-published it. He shouldn’t have bothered.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

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Should You Be a Writer or an Entrepreneur?

Authors are advised to treat their writing like a business

Entrepreneurial

If you write solely for the fun of it or treat writing as a mere hobby, then don’t read this post. Seriously, it will just make you mad.

But if you want to succeed as a writer, regardless of how you define success, then this post should give you some ideas to consider. Please read on. Then let me know what you think about it.

Writing is a Business

When we treat our writing like a business it means we strategically pursue actions to meet the needs others have. We hope to earn a profit doing so. This need we strive to fill is information, inspiration, or entertainment. Maybe all three. For nonfiction we know things (or can find out things) that most people don’t know. For fiction we tell stories others want to read. We write to fill these needs. When we charge money for meeting the needs of others, we ensure we have the means to write more—and meet more needs.

A Book Is a Product

Yes, our books are creative works. Books are art, but they are also products; books provide a service to our audience.

A Series is a Product Line

If one book is a product, then a series is a product line. This is why beginning authors need to stay within one genre or one theme, so they can develop a product line and build a following around that line.

A Book Proposal is a Business Plan

At its most basic level an author’s business plan is a book proposal. Look at the elements of a proposal. It outlines the theme and purpose of the book (the product), it lays out a vision for what it will accomplish, it talks about the need for the book, and it addresses the competition. It also proposes follow-up books (a product line).

At the very least, a book proposal informs our writing and guides us to producing a marketable book (product). No business will ever produce a product people don’t want. An author shouldn’t either.Writing is a business, a book is a product, and a proposal is a mini-business plan. Click To Tweet

We Need Backing

The purpose of a business plan is to raise funding, to procure investors. When it comes to publishing a book our business plan (our book proposal) is the means to get a publisher to back us, to invest in our product (our book).

In theory an advance is money to live on while we develop the product (write our book). Our publisher will produce the book for us, distribute it, and sell it.

If we self-publish our book, we may go to Kickstarter to raise funds or solicit friends and relatives. They’ll want to see a plan before they fork over cash. Even if we self-fund our book, we would be foolish to do so without treating it as an investment.

Marketing Plan

Our marketing plan—often part of the book proposal—addresses how we will let others know about our book. Even if we go with a traditional publisher, they will expect us to market our book. If we self-publish, marketing is even more critical.

Writing and publishing a book requires thinking like a businessperson; we must become an entrepreneur, especially if we choose to self-publish.

Do you think of your book as a product? What do you think about treating writing as a business?

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

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Do You Believe in Print?

Despite Interest in Audio and E-books, Don’t Write Off Print

printed booksAs writers our books can appear in three primary formats: printed books, e-books, and audio books.

Audio Books

Audio books have enjoyed a resurgence of late. Gone are the days of books on tape. Now it is digital files that readers listen to from their smartphones. This form of consumption has soared in the past couple of years, especially among younger generations. Audible books have also received a lot of buzz in recent months among the writing community. It seems I hear more about audio books than e-books nowadays.

E-Books

Reading books on devices is still popular. I hear the reader of preference has shifted from dedicated reading device to the smartphone. However, many mainstream media have actually reported a decrease in e-book consumption.

Yet indie authors are quick to point out that a significant percentage of independent authors do not use ISBNs. This means no one tracks their sales as a whole. They maintain, though unverifiable, that e-book sales are grossly under reported and are actually continuing their upward sales assent.

Printed Books

That leaves print. For some 500 years print was the only reading option. While prognosticators have predicted the demise of printed books for the past several years, its death has yet to take place. Yes, its market share has declined, but readers still consume printed books and many prefer the tactile, and even olfactory, experience of reading them.

Mainstream media also reports that younger generations are returning to print, apparently preferring to unplug and immerse themselves in the printed word. Besides you don’t need a smartphone to read a print book. You don’t need charged batteries and you don’t need a signal to download content.

Do you believe in print?

Books have three formats: print, ebook, and audio. Which do you prefer? Click To Tweet

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

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